The other morning was a good teachable moment for my son David. He woke up, came into the living room, and screamed, “Oh no! I left my binder at the main High School! It has all my stuff in it! What am I going to do?! Oh no!” I calmly replied, “Get in the shower and get ready for school.” He continued to panic, and I told him again, “Get in the shower and get ready.” He asked me, “Don’t you care that I might get bad grades if we don’t find it?!” I again replied, “Get in the shower, and get ready for school.”
When he came out, I told him to get in the car so we could go to the main High School and look for the binder. He replied, “It won’t be there! Someone probably took it! The band room won’t be unlocked! I don’t even know where the office is!” I remained silent and drove. Again, David asked, “Dad, don’t you even care?!”
We pulled up to the school and sure enough, the band room was locked. David came out in a panic, “I told you! We’ll never find it!” Then I asked a student where the office was located. He told us and David went to the office. They told him the band room would open at 7:30am when the band director came in. We drove back over to the band room, and David went inside and he came out carrying the binder. He got in the car in silence looking straight ahead. He looked at me and said, “It was the first thing I saw when I walked in.” We laughed and I proceeded with the teachable moment.
The night before, we had watched the movie GRAVITY with Sandra Bullock and George Clooney. I said, “Do you know what I noticed last night in the movie? When she panicked, she couldn’t function. She couldn’t focus or do anything at all! Then, she’d calm down, breathe in and out, focus, and get herself out of the situation.” He answered, “Dad, that’s a movie!” I then told him, “Most people die in life threatening situations because they panic – they worry about what might happen before it happens. Survivors find ground and center, breath in a controlled manner, and then respond to the situation by doing what they can do now.”
When we worry, we often live out the worst possible scenario. I’ve found in life that the worst possible scenario rarely happens. If you worry about it, you’re guaranteed to live that scenario in your mind anyway! What a waste! Mark Twain said, “I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.” Luke 12:25-26 says, “Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? And if worry can’t accomplish a little thing like that, what’s the use of worrying over bigger things?” (NLT)
As a man in the airport once said to me when I was in a panic, “STOP! You are scaring yourself!” So I tell you, do what you can do in the moment. Worry accomplishes nothing. Figure out what you can control, and do that.
I then told David, “I told you to get in the shower and get ready for school because there wasn’t anything we could do until we got there. When we got there, if we couldn’t find the binder, then we’d cross that bridge. And look, that bridge didn’t even have to exist – except for your worry creating it in your mind.”